Current Examples of Helping Raped Women

Topics: Peru

The audience being addressed in this essay is an aid organization looking to brief its officers on the operations of the law historically. The officers are meant to help victims of rape and other racial crimes seek and get justice. The officers are social workers and therefore a majority of them do not have sufficient knowledge of the current or a historical basis of the law. The audience is eager to learn how law and human nature and interrelated with each other, the basis of some contentious law-related issues historically.

Some of the examples that will be used in the essay include:

  1. The effects of white supremacy, black-on-white rape crimes in Virginia in the 1930s, the impacts of race on effecting laws, and the effects of influential white Southerners in 1930s America.
  2. The account of Nawal Saadawi’s imprisonment in 1981 Egypt for her political views.
  3. The case of Mercedes Ccorimanya Lavilla of Peru, who was raped and had to mount and pursue rape charges to ultimately get one of only five convictions in nearly a century of violent rape cases.

These are examples that will be relevant to the audience since they involve women in pivotal roles in the dispensation of justice in various times and places, similar to what the audience and their organization are doing currently.

Law and Human Nature

There is an intricate relationship between the law and human behavior. The reason for this can be linked to the nature of man. Man can be described as gregarious because he/she lives both in their bodies and minds.

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This, by extension, means that man has to live in a community or have connections with other members of a society to live a more complete life. He, therefore, becomes a victim of social inevitability because he has to live by the rules that are put in place by society. For society to exist and thrive, it has to anchor itself on laws that govern the members of the society.

When thinking of law and society, the most basic definition is that it refers to a group of people that have come together and are governed by a political organization. The existence of the society is based on the quality of the laws put in place and the members of the society have to have a vested interest in the preservation of the laws, their well-being as well as the well-being of the association. The people within the society differ in several ways and forms, and this is reflected in their adherence to the law. This means that while some members of the society might be completely submissive to the law, some are completely delinquent to the same.

The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to examine the relationship between law and human behavior and how the same has changed over place and time, especially among women. In addition to this, the paper will investigate the various select instances when the laws served the interest of people as well as when they served the interests of other groups.

Black-on-White Rape in Virginia

Lisa Lindquist narrates the legal situation for African American males in Virginia in the 1930s after they were accused of major crimes such as rape. The text analyzes various cases where white women accused black men of atrocious crimes such as rape and with little to no evidence, the African American men ended up convicted of the crimes, some suffering the maximum punishments such as death, others being incarcerated for varying lengths of time while some were acquitted of the crimes after various players believed in their innocence and acted on behalf of the marginalized group.

Women play a significant role in how the law was dispensed in this case. As mentioned above, different societies place different emphasis on the law and while submitting to the same completely, some are delinquent towards the law and use it as a means of escape for their ulterior motives. In the case that infamously became known as the Scottsboro Case, women are cast in a bad light. In summary, two women are caught violating the Mann’s Act and choose to accuse African American men of rape to escape the long arm of the law (Lindquist, 2017). The men are promptly arrested and charged with the crime with little evidence.

In most historical cases, women are usually the victims of unjust judicial systems and practices and to some extent, this is still the case in this situation where the women are subjected to laws that prohibit them from looking for a means of livelihood in neighboring states, however, women can also use the law for nefarious means (Lindquist, 2017). The women throw the men under the bus to save their skins. Another aspect of the judicial system in the American Deep South is the nuances in the members of the society. Contrary to popular belief, and while the deep south was rife with racism in every aspect of the society, there was more than just race when it came to making judicial decisions.

Only a small percentage of African American men suffered the maximum punishment for vile offenses such as rape, others served minimum sentences and others were acquitted, there are even cases where influential white slave owners acted as alibis for their servants. Apart from media coverage and public scrutiny, cases about white women received a varied range of responses from the judicial system. Ultimately, however, whether dishing out the harshest punishments for purported crimes or offering clemency, the resulting actions were means of exerting their white supremacy. Women in this case acted as the victims for white men to provide protection over.

The case of Mercedes Ccorimanya Lavilla

The case of Mercedes Ccorimanya Lavilla in the later stages of 2oth century Peru shows a dynamic shift in the relationship between the law and human nature as compared to the case discussed above of the law in 1930s America. In 1983 Mercedes Ccorimanya Lavilla was a young woman who was raped in her home village of Chicco, Peru. Her case is one detailing a tumultuous process to get the justice she deserved and a legal process that seemed determined to oppress women and maintain the status quo in society.

After the rape, Mercedes Ccorimanya Lavilla decided to pursue legal recourse. Cases of rape in Peru at the time were determined against the backdrop of three major issues; age, virginity, and honor. In this case, a woman above the age of eighteen could not be raped because she knew how to keep herself safe (Bunt, 2008). A woman who was not a virgin before she was married was viewed as dishonest and therefore could not be raped regardless of their age. Honor also had to be ascertained before determining a rape case. The three elements referred to as the moral triad were just some of the oppressive measures that the society in Peru put in place to oppress victims that were considered to be lesser members of the society. The case of Mercedes Ccorimanya Lavilla was difficult because the defense as well as the judicial system scrutinized her instead of following due process, looking at the evidence, and delivering the verdict.

The ultimate conclusion of the case was in favor of Mercedes Ccorimanya Lavilla and it was based on the overwhelming evidence that the victim had presented. While the judicial system, in this case, seemed to work for the victim, the process of arriving at this verdict reflected its oppressive nature and is evidenced by the amount of work, intended for the judicial systems, that the victim had to do (Bunt, 2008).

Memoirs from the Women’s Prison

The relationship between law and human nature is further elaborated in the text by Nawal El Saadawi in which she recounts her imprisonment in 1981 in Egypt. She and others are political prisoners under the regime of President Anwar Sadat. In her text Memoirs from the women’s prison, she details the horrifying conditions in women’s prisons in Egypt and the oppression that characterized the same. The account reveals that the relationship between human nature and law in 1981 Egypt was similar to other places the world over such as Peru, as described above in this paper. Ultimately, the examples used above point to the fact that those in power in the society make and modify laws in ways that benefit them (El Saadawi, 1986). This, however, has not always benefited women in societies regardless of their societal hierarchy. They are often placed in a lower setting compared to the rest of the society and the law in most circumstances has been used as a weapon to oppress them.

The interest of Individuals vs Group

The cases above concede that in some cases, the law serves the interests of individuals while sometimes, they serve the interest of groups. In the case of black-on-white crimes in Virginia, the law worked for the interest of groups, more specifically in this case, the interest of African American males who were prosecuted without evidence. This is also the case for political dissidents in Egypt in 1981, where the assassination of the president saw those who went against the dominant narrative get their freedom. The case of Mercedes Ccorimanya Lavilla is an example of the law working for the interest of an individual.


  1. Bunt, L. (2008). A Quest for Justice in Cuzco, Peru: Race and Evidence in the Case of Mercedes Ccorimanya Lavilla (31st ed., pp. 268-302). The American Anthropological Association.
  2. El Saadawi, Nawal. Memoirs FromThe Woman’s Prison. Trans. Marilyn Booth. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press 1986
  3. Lisa Lindquist. White Women, Rape, and the Power of Race in Virginia, 1900-1960 (1). Chapel Hill, US: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 29 April 2017.

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Current Examples of Helping Raped Women. (2022, May 12). Retrieved from

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